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Overcome emotional eating with these simple tactics!

Door Claudia Smet 03 May 2021 0 comments
Emotioneel eten chocolade

Emotional eating is the term used when people use food to hide from, deal with, or even celebrate intense human emotions. Emotional eating can be provoked by stress, fatigue, boredom or emotions such as loneliness or sadness, among other things. If you turn to food for a sense of comfort or stress, it's important to know that you're not alone.

Emotional eating is a habit that many people have formed as a self-soothing technique. In this article, we'll take a look at some common emotional eating triggers and some simple tricks you can use to overcome emotional eating for good!

Stress eating

Stress is one of the main triggers when it comes to emotional eating. Stressful situations and stressful inputs such as work-related stress, financial stress, or family-related stress can potentially trigger us all to eat to alleviate the feelings associated with the situation in question.

To avoid stress eating it is important to get in touch with your own hunger so you can recognize if you are really hungry or if you are focusing on food for comfort and stress relief. When you struggle with the urge to open the refrigerator, use a mindfulness practice of being in the moment and observing what is happening. The pause should help you better understand the reasons behind your desires.

Simple trick 1: take deep breaths

Yes, it sounds simple, but there's a reason that deep breathing is at the top of the list of almost all meditation or de-stressing, and that's because it works. Close your eyes and take a deep breath for 3 to 5 minutes, fill your belly with air and push it all out.

Simple trick 2: Drink water or tea

Water and tea are not only healthy and hydrating, but they can also distract you from any stress-eating hunger pangs. Many of us confuse hunger with thirst, not just during times of stress, but all the time. If you feel hungry, see if a large glass of water will satiate you first.

Intermittent fasting can be a way to consciously deal with your food. Also check the blog about intermittent fasting.

Eat when you are exhausted

It is super common to crave food when you are tired or fatigued. If you've been sitting in front of a computer for hours on end and can barely ask your brain to make another decision, it might seem like an easy, easygoing, and comfortable answer.

Simple Trick: If you find yourself turning emotionally to food when you are overtired or burnt out, a great way to distract yourself from this trigger is to take a break from the activity that causes fatigue. Take a nap, go outside, take a walk, or do some household chores. Give yourself a chance to fully reset before returning to the activity in question.

Eating when bored

Another common trigger is boredom. Between the constant influx of activities and stimulation from screens, we are no longer used to the feeling of boredom and it makes us feel uncomfortable and alone. Without adequate strategies, boredom can lead to eating or overeating, because eating is, well, something to do.

Simple Trick: Provide a list of possible activities you can do to relieve boredom. Think: read a book, play a game, do the laundry, do some gardening, etc. Keep this list handy for when the urge strikes.

Emotional eating of loneliness or sadnessEmotioneel eten bij depressie

Many of us use food to avoid unpleasant emotions. Food can be a way to calm our emotions, but also a way to distract from our emotions. You may feel some relief from the emotion while eating, but once you finish eating, the negative emotions will return.

The best way to work through this emotional eating trigger is to feel these unpleasant emotions differently. Remind yourself that emotions, even strong ones, are only temporary and will pass over time. You can also use other ways to distract or work through your emotions, such as writing, painting, exercising, or talking to someone about how you feel.

Simple trick: Try putting on some music! Create a go-to playlist that will make you feel good, energize and uplift you.

Emotional eating is a common problem many of us face on a daily basis. It's important to take steps to understand and address your emotional eating so you can find better ways to cope with intense emotions, boredom, or fatigue. Overcoming emotional eating isn't easy, so it's important to understand yourself on this journey. You probably won't be able to give up every bad eating habit in one day. Take it easy and practice tackling these common emotional eating triggers. Awareness of the trigger is a very important step in overcoming emotional eating. Go through this list whenever you feel the urge to soothe yourself with food.

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